New generation data centre – bringing innovation, research and technical development to central Portugal

The project has a substantial trickledown effect on the entire region, demonstrating how new technology means new opportunities for development, growth and jobs.

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The new generation data centre project involves the design and construction of an operations support centre and its first technical module, part of a comprehensive, innovative data centre in Covilhã, Portugal. With a focus on tradeable services, export performance and the creation of jobs, the data centre is well-positioned to serve as an international benchmark in terms of both technology and energy efficiency. It reinforces Portugal’s position as a leader in cloud computing, housing and hosting services. 

The operations support centre is capable of hosting the installation of 10 000 servers, all connected to Portugal’s high-speed fibre optic network, and is used for the storage and processing of large-scale data services. The centre operates in compliance with the highest level of standards for efficiency and energy savings. 

Setting the standard

The project kicked off with intense preparatory work and studies on the architectural and engineering requirements needed to assure the functioning of the centre’s state-of-the-art technology and need to house sensitive data. For example, the design took into account the inclusion of cooling grids, CCTV systems, specialised access control, the installation of a high voltage electrical component and the use of photovoltaic panels. In addition to building the centre itself, construction included excavations, landscaping and the installation of an underground sewage and water system. 

At 19 500 square metres, the new generation data centre is the largest in Portugal and one of the largest in Europe. It is also one of the most advanced of its kind, being equipped to offer the very best in processing power and network availability and reliability. Its forward-thinking design ensures it is capable of meeting the connectivity, management and housing needs of customers both today and in the future. On top of it all, the centre is supported by an array of the latest in energy-efficient and environmentally responsible equipment.  

Trickledown effect

The project brings with it a substantial trickledown effect on Portugal’s Norte, Centro, and Alentejo regions, clearly demonstrating how new technology means new opportunities for development in traditionally less-favoured areas. The data centre is directly responsible for the creation of 86 new jobs and an additional 500 indirect jobs. As just the first phase of an overall four-staged development scheme for the region, the data centre serves as a centrepiece to the Covilhã municipality urban development plan. 

The centre is located nearby the Beira Interior University, which provides expertise and research in the area of information technologies. Likewise, university students benefit from various opportunities to gain hands-on experience in the data centre. The project also serves as a centre of innovation, supporting local businesses and entrepreneurs by opening up new international markets and increasing Portugal’s competitiveness.

Total investment and EU funding 

Total investment for the project “New Generation Data Centre” is EUR 86 557 421, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 15 712 858 through the “Thematic Factors of Competitiveness” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The investment falls under the priority “Innovation and renewal of the enterprise model and the pattern of specialisation ”.

Draft date

22/04/2016